BC: DEPARTED | AUSTRALIA | 8 APR 2012 | No Worries, | Mate!
FC: Australia 2012
1: AUSTRALIA | ARRIVED 30 MAR 2012 | Layover at LAX included a feast for kings at Chili's. Few Lagers to calm the nerves before the long flight. | Cheers, Mate!
2: CAIRNS | north queensland | 30 MAR 2012 | Arrived at our hotel, the Pacific International, in Cairns. Immediately met with our concierge, Debbie, to go over the itinerary for our trip. Debbie: Where are you guys from? Us: Missouri. Debbie: Missouri? Sounds a bit country... Walked along the boardwalk and found a park with outdoor exercise equipment and a swimming area called the Esplande. There was a running/biking trail that ran all the way down the coast with the most beautiful views. Explored a bit before finally deciding on a little fresco eating joint called Splash for dinner. It was seafood and extremely fresh
4: Cairns, Australia | March 30, 2012
5: View from the hotel
6: GREAT BARRIER REEF & MINI CRUISE March 31, 2012—Upgraded to an all day snorkeling-fest at the Great Barrier reef and it was totally worth it. We cruised for 2 hours taking in the wonderful tropical sights. The Aussie sun is pretty strong, but it was an amazing day. Once we made it to the pontoon, we got to snorkel at our leisure.
7: Dan really took advantage of all the tea times.
8: THE GREAT BARRIER REEF is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. We got to see it a few different ways: snorkeling, glass bottom boat and a submersible.
11: NIGHTLIFE | Being unfamiliar with the area, we typically just walked around until something caught our eye. Found a place called Sauce for dinner and sat outside. Toasted to delicious fresh seafood. Barramundi is a salmon-like fish, very tasty. Aussies love everything fried also, so we indulged. Dan drank beers while the girls gulped tropical cocktails. CHEERS, MATE!
12: ONE-WAY SKYRAIL | Trip was phenomenal! The views were amazing, everything was so green. There were a few different stops on our way to the destination where we could get out of the skyrail and walk around taking in the wonderful sights of the rainforest. | Kuranda Rainforest | April, 1, 2012
13: (Opposite page) View from the skyrail as we ascended into the mountains (Upper left) Rising above the treeline in the skyrail. (Upper right) One of the stops to Kuranda, Dan staring up at the giant tree. (Left) Dan soaking in the tropics in his authentic bamboo shirt purchased the night before. (Right) More mountain ranges. (Bottom left) The Giant Tree! (Bottom right) Headed to the National Barron Park.
15: Barron Gorge
16: BARRON GORGE | Barron Gorge formed where the Barron River passes over the eastern escarpment of the Atherton Tablelands. Two waterfalls: Stoney Creek Falls and Surprise Creek Falls exist on tributaries of the Barron River within the park. Slopes around the gorge are steep with some at a 45 angle. This made construction of the railway hazardous. 23 lives were lost during its construction.
17: (Opposite Page) Ashley posing in front of the gorge. (Above left) Erin and Angela observing our decent into the next stop on the gondola. (Above right) Dan excited about the gorge. (Left) Dan posing in front of the retired elevator used to lower workers into the gorge. (Right) Dan in gondola looking at river. (Bottom left) Ashley Excited about Kuranda. (Bottom right) Barron Gorge.
18: KURANDA RAINFOREST Once we arrived, we got to walk around a few trails and a stretch of markets for shopping. We also got to go to Koala Gardens which was like a mini zoo with a bunch of different kinds of Australian native animals, but with one little distinction: WE GOT TO CUDDLE A KOALA!
19: Oceanic Flight 815!
20: Koala Gardens
23: Kuranda Rainforest
25: KURANDA SCENIC RAILWAY Because the gondola was a one way trip into the rainforest, we took a train back into the city. It was actually a really cool way to get there, too. Stunning sights. Got to see the Barron Gorge again, but from a different angle. There was a crazy amazing waterfall on the way into town. If you reach out of the train, which you are advised against doing, you could practically touch it. It is extremely hard to take a bad picture in this magnificent place. Dinner and beers at Rattle & Rum.
26: Flying foxes taking over the night sky in Cairns.
27: Last Day in Cairns
28: Before saying goodbye to Cairns, we got a little 5k in at the trails on the Esplande. Then it was off to the airport. Just to state for the record, Australian airports ROCK! Split some appetizers and beers waiting for our flight, then took Qantas to Melbourne. Again, Qantas is most definitely the best airline EVER. The U.S. could learn a thing or two. Our taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong hotel, but through some finagling, we got them to come pick us up again and to the right place—The Mercure Treasury Gardens Hotel. It was late when we got in, so we dumped our gear in our rooms and headed out for Melbourne Nightlife. Ended up at European Bier Cafe for dinner and a Hefeweisen. Even Hulk made a cameo. | MELBOURNE April 2, 2012
30: MELBOURNE | victoria | 3 APR 2012
31: Melbourne Bus Tour
32: DOWNTOWN MELBOURNE BUS TOUR Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. It was very reminiscent of a cleaner version of Chicago. The tour included the Treasury, Parliament, Little Italy, Chinatown, and the Royal Botanical Gardens (opposite page), as well as the Shrine of Remembrance (a WWI & WWII Memorial).
33: ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS
34: Royal Botanic | GARDENS
35: The first stop on the Melbourne Bus Tour was at the Royal Botanic Gardens where we got to walk around the ground and take in some sights. Captain Cook's cabin was kind of neat and then there were these weird trees that looked like upsidedown pine cone trees. Dan was mesmerized by them and took a zillion pictures for his dad.
37: Melbourne Architecture
38: SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE | is Australia's WWI and WWII Memorial commemorating the men and women who served in war from Victoria. This was our second stop on the Melbourne Bus Tour and everything was so symbolic and ornate. The coffer ceilings were beautiful and the darkness was eerie. There was even a trough tribute to war horses that served in the wars (next page).
39: (Opposite page) Memorial designed after the Parthenon. (Bottom) Coffered ceiling inside the memorial. (Upper left) Shrine of Remembrance entrance. (Upper right) view overlooking the memorial from the stairs of the building. (Left) WWII monument and eternal flame. (Right) Statue of two generations of soldiers fighting one after the other. (Bottom left) Statue of soldier. (Bottom right) Overview of entrance.
40: Shrine of Remembrance
43: Lunch time at a brewhouse called James Square. Inside they were playing the NCAA championship game between kU and Kentucky. We tried a Kangaroo burger. It was very fishy and not at all what we expected. Headed back to the hotel for our Penguin Express pickup. | CRIKEY! The Game's On!
44: PENGUIN EXPRESS was amazing! Philip Island was heavily populated with wild life. We saw a lot of wallabies and a few penguins before the main event. Above is the viewing platform we waited from as the penguins stormed onto the beach from the little rafts they built out of each other's bodies. It was adorable!
45: Scan of a postcard. Prohibited from taking photographs for fear of startling penguins into throwing up the food they've collected all day for their young before they make it to their cubbies in the beach bluffs.
46: Eureka Skydeck | April 4, 2012
47: TALLEST SKYDECK IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE The Eureka Skydeck is a 360 degree view of the entire city of Melbourne. It was amazing to see everything we had just viewed the day before at a aerial perspective.
48: WANDERING MELBOURNE | Ate lunch in Little Italy at a little place called Cosentino. The owner flagged us down and gave us free drinks to eat there. Post lunch, we succumbed to tasty gelato at Casa Del Gelato—since we were in Little Italy and all. Then off to more exploring the city. The Melbourne Museum was cool. We mostly hung around the giftshops of most places to save money. But the sights just kept on coming. Tried to soak it all in.
49: (Opposite page) Melbourne Museum exterior and imax. (Opposite bottom) Costentino in Little Italy. (Above left) Dan and Angela discussing the finer qualities of truck cars over gelato. (Above right) Melbourne Museum. (Left) Guerrilla art knitted bike rack. (RIght) Outdoor showers? (Bottom left) Outdoor amphitheater. (Bottom right) Dan, Angela and Erin with their giftshop spoils from the Melbourne Museum.
50: WANDERING MELBOURNE (continued) Explored the city's biggest hits including Parliament, the free tram that circles around the city and the Old Treasury Building which we actually got to go inside. The downstairs seemed like a dungeon (see opposite page).
52: Mercure Treasury | GARDENS
53: We were pretty tired after a day of walking around so we returned to the Mercure Treasury Gardens which was across the street from our hotel and just people watched on the bench. In that same park are some interesting critters including the night opossum. Most notable gardens treasure: a tribute to JFK. Weird, ay? Last night in Melbourne, we had dinner at a Portuguese place called Nando's. Yummy and cheap!
54: Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia. Once we arrived in Sydney, we made it straight for the harbour to see the bridge and opera house. | WELCOME TO SYDNEY | April 5, 2012
55: Sydney Opera House
56: ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS Walked the grounds of the gardens and found some cool architecture. The Gardens are home to the Government House which resembles a Gothic Castle (above), many ponds and plants, the Glass Pyramid and a colony of over 22,000 Grey-headed Flying Foxes (the large fruitbats on opposite page).
59: SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE Walked across the bridge after dinner with Angela's cousin, Sarah who lives in Sydney. The sun was setting and the view was hypnotic. Probably took over a hundred pictures of the Opera House.
60: Sydney | April 6, 2012
61: SYDNEY BUS TOUR included a few different stops around the harbour for different views of the Opera House and the bridge as well as Mrs. Macquarie's Chair (which Dan is sitting on in the opposite page). We also got to see a distant view of the Sydney tower, lighthouses, and old churches.
62: Manly Beach
64: NO WORRIES, MATE! Hung out on the beach for a while, did a few touristy things and then dinner and brews at Murray's. All in all, a very chill day for one busy trip so far. Cheers! | Public water fountain and waterbottle refilling station. Love this!
66: PRIVATE TOUR | Sarah's husband gave us a private boat tour of the Sydney Harbour while we sipped on wine and toasted to an ah-mazing day in Australia. Got to watch the sun set over the bridge it was beautiful. The evening that followed involved dinner and sangria at a Tapas joint.
67: ANGELA WENT PARASAILING! | DISCLAIMER: This photograph may or may not be Angela. HAHA. We weren't sure when she got up there.
68: Featherdale | April 7, 2012
69: Blue Mountains Excursion started out at the Featherdale WIldlife Park where we got to feed the wallabies. But this was a glorious Australian zoo with all the indigenous animals you could think of: kangaroos, crocs, penguins, Tasmanian devils, koalas and more.
70: THREE SISTERS | blue mountains | 7 APR 2012
71: THE THREE SISTERS are a rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. They are near the town of Katoomba where we got to explore more rainforest via gondolas and a train ride deep into the valley.
72: Blue Mountains Tour